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South Africans from across the country marvel at the countless breath taking hiking trails in Cape Town.

No matter the time of year, if the weather is clear, a hike is usually just what the doctor ordered. Get out into nature and explore the variety of exciting trails that are right on your doorstep.

If you are looking for a hiking trail within driving distance from the city centre and just far enough out to feel like a true escape, you have come to the right place.

 

Our 5 favourite hiking trails in and around Cape Town

1.     Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head hiking trail in Cape Town
Source: Ellerman House

If there is any hike in Cape Town that you should know, it’s the iconic Lion’s Head. This popular peak is splashed all over social media and tourists across the globe are fond of this hike for its spectacular views.

Enjoy the magnificent views of Table Bay and the Atlantic Ocean from a different angle. Panoramic views are guaranteed at any time of day so whether you hike Lion’s Head at sunrise, sunset or at full moon, you are in for a treat.

Good to know:

Duration: 2 – 3 hours, depending on your chosen route

Difficulty: Moderate

A Lion’s Head hike involves some climbing at certain points, with helpful chains and handholds for support. If the climb doesn’t sit well with you, there is a roundabout route you can take as an alternative. Expect an additional 30 minutes if you do.

Contact: 021 712 0527 | tablem@sanparks.org

Note: This trail isn’t recommended for dogs, although it is child-friendly.

 

2.     Chapman’s Peak

Chapman’s Peak hiking trail in cape town
Source: Cape Point Route

If you love the outdoors but don’t have a lot of time to spare, we suggest the hike along Chapman’s Peak. Not only is this hike perfect for beginners, it is breathtakingly beautiful and similar to the sprawling cliffs of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Just kidding… it’s even more beautiful.

This trail is popular among locals and tourists alike and only takes around one to two hours from start to finish.

Enjoy the beautiful views of Hout Bay and Fish Hoek valleys, as well as Karbonkelberg, Klein Leeukoppie and Cape Point. Make sure you bring something warm to put on in case the wind picks up (as it often does).

Good to know:

Duration: 1 – 2 hours

Difficulty: Easy

This trail is simple, short and ideal for beginners.

Contact: 021 791 8220, info@chapmanspeakdrive.co.za

Note: For secure parking and access to the entrance of the hiking trail, you’ll need to get hold of a day pass (free at the Chapman’s Peak toll booth).

 

3.     Skeleton Gorge

Skeleton Gorge hiking trail in Cape Town
Source: Babuka Africa

For those seeking a full day hike, Skeleton Gorge takes you from one side of the majestic Table Mountain to the other.

Start the trail at Kirstenbosch Gardens and follow a steep climb up Skeleton Gorge between the forests of indigenous trees. Take in the impossible beauty of nature as you comfortably stroll through mountain fynbos, rock formations that have literally stood the test of time and Mother Nature in all her glory.

Bring a picnic to enjoy when you get hungry and need to recharge.

The finishing point is located at Table Mountain’s highest point, Maclear’s Beacon. From there you can take the cable car down to Tafelberg Road.

Good to know:

Duration: 4 – 6 hours, depending on your level of fitness

Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

Fitness is essential with this hike as it is long, and involves climbs and navigating fallen rocks. Be aware that some parts of the trail can be quite slippery, and shouldn’t be done soon after heavy rains.

Contact: 021 712 0527, tablem@sanparks.org | 021 799 8899, Kirstenboschinfo@sanbi.org.za

Note: This trail isn’t recommended for dogs, although it is child-friendly.

 

4.     Newlands Forest Contour Path

Newlands Forest Contour Path hiking trail in cape town
Source: Wikimedia

If the sun is blistering up above, Newlands Forest can be a great option with its shady paths, lush foliage and uninterrupted streams.

This hiking trail is also beautifully maintained and has a number of wooden boardwalks and a raised picnic area for families to enjoy. We recommend this hike to all ages who are sure to enjoy scenic paths as they take in the natural beauty of the forest and surrounds.

You have three trail route options, all moderate in difficulty:

  • Fernwood Track | three hours including a break for a picnic
  • Newlands Forest to Rhodes Memorial | two hours excluding a stop at Rhodes Memorial
  • Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch | three hours with a stop for lunch at Kirstenbosch

If you are nature and indigenous vegetation lover, these three paths are sure to capture your imagination.

Good to know:

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Note: Children aged 10 and older will do well on these trails. Bring your dogs along for some leash-free fun as well – they’ll love it.

 

5.     Silvermine

Silvermine hiking trail in Cape Town
Source: Cape Town Magazine

Have you ever navigated the Elephant’s Eye? No really. This hiking trail is sure to be right up there with your favourite hikes and features a spooky cave that you climb up and into as you survey the area for miles.

Although a fairly long walk, it is definitely worth it if the weather is good. This hike can also be altered if you would like a shorter trail.

The Silvermine hike forms part of the Hoerikwaggo Trail route and is fairly easy for all hikers thanks to its built-up pathways and guides.

Start at Slangkop Point and end at the Silvermine Tented Camps. You will walk along Noordhoek Beach and up Chapman’s Peak, with lovely family picnic spots dotted along the path.

Good to know:

Duration: 8 hours

Cost: There are fees involved for this trail. R50 for adults; R25 for children (until 31 October 2017)

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

This trail is quite long. If you’re up for a shorter trail, walks around Silvermine are ideal.

Contact: 021 712 7471 | 021 712 0527 | tablem@sanparks.org

Note: The reserve is dog-friendly but you will need to have a Level 1 My Active Permit (available at the Tokai Plantation Office or other Cape Town Tourism offices).